Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Damn Basterds Won't Let Me Be...

...and though I have a lot else to get done this weekend and can't afford the time to write or deliver a finished screed, I am finding myself too upset but also too gripped by my response to this movie, and by several other people's responses to this movie, that I can't not write about it. Plus, I figure: what the hey. Tarantino loves chapters. And he's hardly one to balk at breaking his own mammoth pieces into smaller chunks (if only because higher powers force his hand), and hoping nonetheless that people will keep checking in. So, that's how it's going to be.

Chapter 1: Whipped Cream
Chapter 2: Perspective

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Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

I love that it made you as chatty as it made me. Even if you didn't respond as well to it. So much to respond to here. I'll let someone else go first.

6:08 PM, September 07, 2009  
Blogger tim r said...

Fascinating. I wonder if "perspective" means two different things, really? There's the interior kind, as in the way you personally see the world -- like you say, it's hardly as though we can accuse QT of not having a recognisable brand of this. And then there's the "get some perspective" kind, which is almost akin to "distance", something outside yourself, or a way of balancing your own viewpoint with what's real. I actually think Ang Lee has this kind, in his admittedly overcautious way, but maybe you'd argue it's less creatively important? It's certainly what I think Tarantino lacks, but then he has always lacked it. It's the nature of the beast; it's also a virtually irrelevant shortfall, when he's on song. I'm not with Manohla in saying it's pointless even to recognise this, but there's not much we can do with Tarantino if we don't play his game by the rules he's given us. We either play it or we don't. (And I'm still really queasy about whether I want to play this one or not -- which is where I entirely agree with what you're saying.)

4:28 AM, September 08, 2009  
Blogger Colin Low said...

Having now seen the movie, I can't fully agree with your contention that Waltz is a lead. In their respective movies, the chief villains (Hannibal Lecter, Anton Chigurh, The Joker) who are supposedly Landa's precedents stand in relation to a more "obvious" audience-aligned protagonist (Clarice Starling, Llewellyn Moss, Batman), such that the pulse of their movies lay in their mutual push-and-pull. Waltz's character, curiously, only truly antagonises Shoshanna in two early scenes (at the farm, over strudels) before he drops out of her plotline and shifts his antagonism onto the Basterds. This complicates his categorisation; I would say that he is a supporting character in both "Shoshanna's movie" and "the Basterds' movie", but the combined screentime doesn't make him a lead in the overall narrative. (Boy, I sure do wish for an alternate movie that did make him the unabashed lead, though. Using your favoured parlance, he's more of a Fantastic than a For The Ages in this movie, if only because Tarantino, in the final scene, condescends to the character's intelligence. If Tarantino had invested in Landa as more worthy of study, in the Taxi Driver way, than the pretty one-dimensional Jewish characters, his "turn" at the end of the movie would seem far more interesting and less like a screenwriter's mechanic to lead him to his choreographed downfall.)

8:25 PM, September 09, 2009  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

how many chapters is this going to be? I'm loving it...

and though we feel differently about the movie I do applaud your consistent appeals for humanism. I felt how I assume you're feeling a bit during District 9 when i could tell that every exploding body was glee for the audience.

just how much bloodshed do people need exactly in order to be "entertained"?

2:11 PM, September 13, 2009  

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